2017 Rankings Announced
On the heels of updated rankings in the class of 2016, today NERR rolls out updated rankings in New England’s rising junior class.
There’s been plenty of movement at the top where Putnam Science Academy guard Hamidou Diallo now has a firm handle on the #1 ranking. But he’s not alone atop the class as a pair of point guards, Makai Ashton-Langford and Tremont Waters, are both coming off huge summers where they proved themselves not only on some of the biggest stages in grassroots basketball but against the top levels of competition. Jermaine Samuels missed the summer with injury but he’s not far behind while Kimani Lawrence rounds out the top five after taking his game to new levels in recent months as well.
A trio of big men – Tomas Murphy, Hashan French and Jarrod Simmons – are up next. French is the farthest along of the three from a physical standpoint, but has made more strides with the progression of his skill set and overall development than he gets credit for. Murphy and Simmons both have significant upsides down the road as they continue to grow into their bodies and develop their games. Both had increasingly frequent contributions over the course of July.
A pair of guards – Wabissa Bede and Kellan Grady – round out the top ten. Bede is a true point guard with unmatched intangibles, a solid skill set and proven learning curve. Grady has clear upside with his size, length and potential to evolve into a big point guard.
In total, the top 25 rising juniors in New England are ranked, but even that is just the tip of the iceberg in a 2017 class that is turning out to be as deep as it is talented at the top.
Diallo and Waters obviously lead the way in Connecticut, but next up is a pair of frontcourt prospects currently starring in Fairfield Country. Walter Whyte put together a breakout spring and summer, jumping up to number three in the process, while Sunday Okeke remains one of the top big men in the class. Patrick Harding and Garrett Stephenson are two more big men in the top ten while the class also holds a series of talented guards who will look to separate themselves from one another in the coming months in Joe Kasperzyk, C.J. Seaforth, Mike McGuirl and Ryan Murphy.
The Massachusetts class of 2017 is absolutely loaded. Eight of the top ten players in New England currently play in the Bay State, while the overall depth of the class is no less impressive. Jerome Desrosiers and Derrick Ellis complete the top ten in the state but guys like Javon Taylor, Javaughn Edmonds, Jordan Mello-Klein, Jordan Hardwick and Jordan Vidal all cracked the top 25 list in New England while the likes of Greg Kuakumensah, Azar Swain Jalyn Hinton, Jakigh Dottin, Tamenang Choh and Matt Dewolf only go to show just how deep the class really is.
Lee Academy swingman Anthony McNish sits on top of Maine’s 2017 class. It’s a little bit of a down year in the public school ranks but there’s still talent to be found. Cheverus guard Austin Boudreau is a talent while teammate Jack Casale has already proven himself in the high school ranks. Matt McDevitt was a breakout at June’s Elite 75 College Showcase.
A quick glance at the list will make you think that prep school talent has already taken over, and while that might be true to a certain extent, many of those prep school products are actually local New Hampshire residents. Geo Baker, who takes over as the #1 ranked player in the state, is the perfect example. He’s from New Hampshire but returning to the prep ranks next year at Proctor Academy. The same can be said of Proctor Academy teammates Caleb Green and Tshiefu Ngalakulondi, ranked second and fifth in the state respectively, who both own multiple division I offers of their own at this point. Incoming Tilton swingman Ryan Layman takes over the third spot while Holderness big man Sukhmail Mathon is back for his second year in New Hampshire and checking in at #4.
There’s a talented base in this class beginning with St. Andrew’s Aaron Wheeler and Bishop Hendricken’s Justin Mazzulla, both of whom own early high-major offers after Wheeler scored an invitation from Providence following their Elite Camp on Saturday. Mazzulla landed an offer from Boston College following his performance at the 2014 AAU nationals. Keyshaad Dixon, who teams with Wheeler during the high school season and Mazzulla during the AAU season, checks in at #3 as a skilled and heady guard where Brandon Kolek is next up.
True to form, the Vermont state rankings continued to be highlighted by prospects from the state’s lone prep powerhouse, Vermont Academy. Much like in New Hampshire though, some of the top prep prospects are also true local products. Kendrick Gray, who takes over as the #1 ranked junior, is a prime example following his transfer from Rice Memorial. Another New England native and incoming Vermont Academy product, Corey Romich, is ranked second while teammate teammate Mike Mundowa also cracks the top five. Kujim Hashani and Calvin Carter headline the top talent in the public school ranks.